Album Reviews

  • Don’t believe the “horrorpunk” genre label, but do believe the inferences to the Damned and Eddie Murphy film soundtracks. Heavily Euro, synth-goth, prog rock and dark wave, I can’t take another minute. Okay, I cave—I’ll believe the horror bit. I just got the creeps. And a wave of nausea.

  • ...and just one more quick note before I sign off in search of new and exciting horror adventures...I received in the mail a press kit and demo CD for a wonderful Italian rock band called The Mugshots. At first glance, I expected the music to be heavy and potentially devoid of melody. I couldn't have been more pleasantly surprised. 

    While the music has some interesting dark and brooding horror inspired moments, it also remains melodic throughout and is chock full of great hooks and choruses. And how can you go wrong with a song title like “Amateur Pictures (An Ode To Jeffrey)”. Referring of course to the cannibalistic serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. “Your heart, your head will be the stars of my sick prèt-a-porter! And then when I'm done I'll keep you safe, in my fridge and in my brain!" - The Mugshots I have listened to the “House Of The Weirdos” CD at least 5 times in the past week, and I must put it on my list of recommendations. Why am I talking about this band, you ask? Well they are one of few new bands who successfully combine elements of horror, rock, and punk music into one scary freaky unsettling package. And yes, I mean that in a good way. If you get a chance, check out their creepy wares online, at www.mugshots.it and see what I mean. Sweet dreams...

  • The Mugshots is an Italian band that fits within the horror punk rock genre, in the vein of the Misfits to be more exact. Comparisons aside, this band does manage to find their own signature sound, with excellent melodies from keyboards/synthesizers, darkish evil voices, and an overall Satan-oriented production (I'm, of course, kidding).

    The standout tracks are "Pissed in Hell" and "The mirror", but the instrumental "Poliziasettanta" is worthy of mention with its somber yet funny feel, which captures the song's very essence. Needless to say what the subject matter of the lyrics is but then again, why not: all things hell/death/blood-related.

    Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the artwork, the bloodstained CD wrapping, a perfect package for those who fond what is morbid and malignant. Misfits, run for your money, your supremacy on hell's charts has just been compromised.

  • From the opening track to their CD House of the Weirdos , it's clear that the Mugshots' musical palette is much more varied than the usual metal bands' monochromatic thrash. This is no surprise since they actually play horror rock that hearkens back to the masters of the Seventies who relied more on their music than on their make-up. By definition, the Mugshots call this “Elitarian Undead Rock” which vocalist Mickey Evil defines as “being part of an elite of proud scumbags in love with horror/trash culture mixed with a blend of (undead) musical styles conjured from the past”! Case in point is the album's opening instrumental, “Prelude to an Infernal Descent”, which features Erik Stayn ( note: actually Mickey Evil ) playing an organ that evokes early Pink Floyd, the Doors, and, with tongue-in-cheek, Bach's Toccata in Fugue.

     This sets the tone for the whole album: spooky, instrumentally accomplished, and not at all afraid to have a sense of humor. Most of the songs which follow are high-energy, melodic pieces which rely on the Mugshots' musicality rather than a crush of metal noise. Guitarist Henry Lee and Bassist G. Guero are able to weave together 2-3 sonically distinct guitar lines in counterpoint and still the band is able to mix in keyboards, mainly with a classic Hammond sound, in arrangements reminiscent of early 70's metal bands like Deep Purple. And drummer ND keeps up a blistering beat that still has room for a variety of rolls and fills sadly missing from most metronomic metal these days. Mickey Evil provides vocals as well as most of the lyric and musical composition. His voice is a powerful baritone that is able to soar easily above the dense mix of instruments. His lyrics are less strong, relying on abstract feelings rather than concrete images. And many of the songs are padded with repeat verses that contain only slight variation. But even where the words fail to scan cleanly or rhyme perfectly, the melodies are so catchy and fresh that the songs transcend any such limitations. “Dr. Bloodmoney” is their best song in this regard with a great hook in the chorus that stays in your head for days. Other standout tracks include “Pissed in Hell”, a politically incorrect reverse-MADD ad, laughing in the face of death and divine retribution and “Amateur Pictures”, an unsavory ode to Jeffrey Dahmer with a frantic beat and irresistible hook. With several albums, EPs, and compilation appearances under their belt, this is a band to keep watching.

     

     

  • This debut album from The Mugshots breaks the mold for horror-rock, and that's not a bad thing. This quintet from dark nether-regions of Italy bring something really fresh (well, freshly dug up to keep with the motif) to the genre. There's a retro feel to their sound. A bit of punk, rock, and new wave. It doesn't take much of a stretch of the imagination to place tracks of this album to your favorite Dario Argento film - the vintage synth sounds bring Argento soundtrack mainstays Goblin to mind. There's a meter to some of the tracks, such as "Poliziasettanta" that has a thick '70s keyboard rock thing going on - feels like a good old fashioned jam session. There's also a recurring sound that reminds me a bit of The Mission UK, though with some guts behind it. (Sorry Wayne) "The Mirror" is a fine example of this - there's a distinct transition from the melodic to a hard, driving beat that is altogether satisfying. Overall, if you listen to a track or two out of context, there are definite singles that warrant airplay (as we've done) but the entirety of the album should be taken in to get the real Mugshots experience. It's well produced and well performed. We're looking forward to what they're going to bring us in the future.

  • The Mugshots : l'immaginario dark/horror si arricchisce e mai, come questa volta, vi sembrerà così piacevole. Prego riferire subito alla famiglia Addams … diverranno i loro primi fan! 
    Chi siano e da dove provengano lo lascio alla vostra immaginazione: nelle stanze gira voce che abbiano radici italiane; della loro storia sappiamo solo quanto hanno lasciato scritto nelle poche righe allegate al cd: correva l'anno 2001 quando già si parlava di un loro fantomatico mini-cd di debutto (“Doctor is out ”); cosa cantino è ancor più misterioso: una casa per tipi bizzarri come luogo per storie di criminali, serial killer e foto segnaletiche! 
    Ma una cosa è data per certa: la loro musica wave-horror-punk . Sarà l'abbondante uso di tastiere o il cantato così suggestivo ma riescono a rendere il punk così anni Ottanta. Li aspettiamo dal vivo.
  • This is some Italian horror rock band is sort of like a mix of The Damned, The Cure, Sisters of Mercy, Italian horror movie soundtrack music, Oingo Boingo, and just a little touch of modern Euro metal topped off with a vocalist who sounds like Dave Vanian crossed with Mike Patton in melodic mode. It's certainly a change of pace from another bunch of dudes with devilocks singing “whoah”. On top of scoring high in originality, The Mugshots also get good marks in songwriting. Even instrumentals like “Poliziasettanta” have good hooks. “Love on Red Yesterdays” is definitely the stand out track, but I enjoyed this disc from start to finish. It's getting pleasant unexpected surprises like this in my P.O. box now and then that makes doing Utter Trash worthwhile. Thanks for sending this, guys! You can get a copy for yourself through the band's exclusive U.S. distributor Crypt of Blood Records, and get more info (and hear some MP3s) at http://www.mugshots.it .

  • I Mugshots sono una giovane horror-punk band che assetata di sangue si affaccia sulla scena punk con un debut-album ("House Of The Weirdos") molto convincente in cui il gruppo sfruttando i classici clichet del genere non vi si appiattisce ma li rielabora in modo, se non proprio personale, quanto meno originale.
    L'album parte con un intro strumentale ("Prelude to an infernal descent") che più Misfits di cosi non si potrebbe. Se vi aspettate la classica copia dei Misfits beh vi sbagliate. Per quanto possiate trovare in blocco tutto l'immaginario horror-punk, condito forse da un'attitudine più sanguinolenta che di B-Movie anni '80, i Mugshots come referenti musicali hanno altre band, soprattutto di matrice Uk (Damned su tutti). 
    Il loro sound è a cavallo tra Devo, "Profondo Rosso", Damned e perché no, anche Carletto il principe dei mostri (cartoon fondamentale per quelli della mia generazione). Tastiere onnipresenti a creare quell'atmosfera di pathos, tensione tipica della scuola di Dario Argento e voce penetrante e ipnotica che scivola sulle note come un sanguinante pugnale: insomma 30 minuti di eccentrica inquietudine. 
    Atmosfere dark, in cui riecheggiano i primi Cure, si fondono alla migliore scuola inglese punk per un totale di 9 tracce che popoleranno la vostra mente in cui sangue, demoni e cimiteri diventeranno semplice ma inquietante realtà. 
    Sebbene l'Horror punk non sia il mio genere (o sottogenere) preferito trovo che in quest'album vi siano ottimi presupposti per una giovane band che senza dover vendere l'anima al diavolo potrà giocarsi le sue carte per un buon loculo nella scena punk.
  • The Mugshots are a bunch of grue-vy ghoulies from Italy. The Italians used to make lots of really awesome splatter flicks back in the 80's, so it stands to reason that spaghetti-horrorpunk oughta be just as distinctively weird and violent. That's my theory, anyway. And what do you know, The M-shots mostly deliver the grosseries, albeit from a much different angle than you'd expect from a Halloween-y band like this. Not a whole lot of Misfits murderbilly going on in these grooves, as the Mugshots take their sinister cues mostly from the twitchy deathrock of the Damned, and drag it through a twisty funhouse of frothy new wave and (ahem) spooky prog-rock passages. Key tracks like “ Pissed in Hell ” and “ Amateur Pictures ” cover the usual serial killer gags, but they bounce and roll around like mental patients in a very scary rubber room, making for a decidedly off-kilter listening experience. You know, like that part in the spook-house where they suddenly turn out the lights and scream in your ear. Far out, man.

  • From what I can scoop together via a bit of websnooping, The Mugshots (purportedly taking their name from the Chicago PD's portrait of John Wayne Gacy) are a relatively new Italian ensemble with a flair for instrumental-filled horrorpunk (or “elitarian undead rock” if you will) and a stage show that lies somewhere between that of Impaler and a pipebombed Velveeta conveyer in an overstocked Kraft factory. While I'll readily admit to killing far too much time with Men WIthout Hats, The Vapors, The Fixx and Devo, occasionally, HOUSE OF WEIRDOS and it's copious synthesized keyboardery is almost TOO new waved for even my pickled palette. “Amateur Pictures (An Ode To Jeffrey)” sounding more like the Euro radio-drek that spluttered from my Sound Design speakers in high school than anything else and the 3.5-instro “Poliziasettanta”, while entertaining, had me seeing visions of “Miami Vice” rather than mirthful murder. Still, vocalist Mickey Evil saves the day on more than one occasion with a delivery that conjures visions of Dave Vanian (“Love On Red Yesterdays” would be snug as a bug as a bonus track on The Damned's BLACK ALBUM) sinking in - and forgive me for recognizing it - a tainted mire of The Human League and Tears For Fears as Michale Graves' off-key yowl hollers out for both assistance and a video camera. “Pissed In Hell”, “Dr. Bloodmoney” and the ploonging basswork of G. Guero during “Le Patetique” prove to be the scariest, and thus my favoritest, ditties on this 9-song affair, good enough to cause the scales of my interest to sink in The Mugshots' favor rather than fault. One can only hope for proper distribution and proper response so that more marinara'd mayhem can follow!

  • Un tipico inizio orrorifico, condito da organi e risatine malefiche, ci introduce nel torvo mondo dei Mugshots. A primo impatto, osservando l' artwork ed essendo in vena di superficialità, verrebbe da pensare di trovarsi al cospetto di una simil-black-metal band ; inaspettatamente, invece, la loro musica risulta una sorta di incrocio tra i Misfits meno heavy e i Ramones più " dark " (quelli di Pet Semetary per intenderci). Punk orecchiabile arricchito con atmosfere pseudo-gotiche quindi, il tutto senza pretese d'originalità alcuna. 
    Dopo il già citato intro , la band propone una manciata di song da non trascurare, con le buone 'Pissed In Hell' e 'Love On Red Yesterday', sicuramente tra le più riuscite del lotto. C'è anche lo spazio per una ballad dal solito retrogusto spettrale, la discreta 'The Mirror', per poi passare ad un'ulteriore accoppiata pressoché alla pari della prima con 'Dr. Bloodmoney' e 'Le Patètique'. 
    Non c'è che dire, 'House Of The Weirdos' scorre alquanto piacevolmente ma, se siete alla ricerca di musica innovativa e originale, la band in questione non fa di certo al caso vostro. 
    Ma, in fin dei conti, le loro atmosfere lugubri trapiantate in territori musicali prettamente easy , condite da onnipresenti tastiere da vecchio film dell'orrore, non sono affatto da disdegnare. 
    Semplice, diretto, tetro... per farla breve, The Mugshots .
  • Questo disco è uno stupendo esempio di come anche in Italia possano realizzarsi alternative musicali degne di nota, capaci di spiccare dal calderone di cloni fritti e rifritti. I Mugshot s, bresciani, sparano un full-lenght dai toni " punkwave " dove chitarre, tastiere e voci impeccabili danno vita ad un piccolo capolavoro. Lo ascolti e lo riascolti senza problemi, e ti rendi conto che questo è un gran bel lavoro, complimenti quindi alla Crypt Of Blood Records , etichetta americana specializzata nell'horror punk che ha deciso di metterli in catalogo (per la produzione invece i Mugshots si sono affidati al caro vecchio diy). Riferimenti cupi, come suggerisce un artwork "draculesco", ma anche tanto ritmo e niente che abbia a che vedere con black\brutal metal o cose del genere, come un comune mortale potrebbe immaginare quando si ritrova in mano il cd. Insomma, un progetto musicale tutto da ascoltare, e da apprezzare nelle sue numerose sfumature. I testi rispecchiano quanto detto in precedenza, sono cupi e misteriosi, sintomo di una band che rinuncia all'immediatezza di molte " punk" band italiane ma che lancia un messaggio profondo e più intimamente sofferto. Tra i miei pezzi preferiti: “Pissed in hell” ; “Amateur pictures (An ode to Jeffrey)” e “Dr. Bloodmoney”. Un solo consiglio: informatevi su questa band e cercate di recuperare questo disco, se cercate qualcosa che non sia ne troppo dark , ne troppo gothic , ne troppo punkrock avete forse trovato la soluzione.

  • Yes! Once again I've received another Horrorpunk/Rock disc that kicks some serious ass without sounding lame and played out. Creatures, it is with the deepest of pleasures that I present you with the Italian band, The Mugshots. According to Mugshots' frontman, (Mickey Evil) he came up with the band name one night while looking at John Wayne Gacy's mughshot! From my understanding, in the beginning the band was influenced strictly by bands like Alice Cooper, due to the nature of the tunes and their theatrical show.

     Although The Mugshots have only released one EP, they've been around since 2001. The band's EP (Doctor Is Out) has been met with rave reviews from all across the globe, helping them to land the prestigious honor of supporting the legendary UK SUBS in 2004. The Mugshots latest disc entitled, House Of the Weirdos and has just been released and is carried exclusively by Crypt Of Blood Records. House Of The Weirdos is relatively short in length, it comes in at a little over thirty minutes and features nine hair raising tracks that dares not to disappoint the listener. Granted, there are more instrumentals than I would personally prefer but the music kicks ass! The tunes that do have lyrics are a bloody good time! "Pissed In Hell" is the first one to get my attention, it features Pipe Organs and a silky Death Rock vibe, ala Shadow Reichenstein and The Damned. If forced, I'd say it sounds like something that could have easily come from The Damned's Phantasmagoria album. The Mugshots also bring out the New Wave influences with "Love On Red Yesterdays". Now, this is what I am talking about! You get a well played back-beat with nostalgic keyboards and spectacular programming followed up by satin-kissed vocals that scream out in pain of love lost. Disturbing is a perfect word to describe the next track, amusingly entitled, "Amateur Pictures (An Ode To Jeffrey)". I don't think I have to go into deep detail about the lyrical content, you all know who Jeff Dahmer is and what he did. Regardless of the content, the band manages to crank out one helluva rockin' tune, crammed with unforgettable melody lines and hooks. There is also a splendid death ballad entitled, "The Mirror". This tune sends chills up and down my spine! Every song on this disc is golden but the few I've mentioned shine the brightest of them all. In closing, The Mugshots have made a beautiful, Horror influenced album with House Of The Weirdos. I've enjoyed it alot and I will for many years to come, as should you. If you're into bands like Bella Morte, The Damned, Shadow Reichenstein and the New Wave genre be sure to check this disc out!!

  • "House Of The Weirdos" (CD, Lombroso Releases , 2005) dei Mugshots , registrato in “28 stressanti ore” nel Settembre 2005, si apre con un'inquietante introduzione ben suonata che termina con un'orgia disumana di urla demoniache. L'inquietudine fa da regina in uno scenario misterioso e sinistro dove, con ritmi che variano dal punk , al  rock ed al metal , si narrano esperienze infernali al limite dell'aldilà. Fondamentale è stato l'influsso Misfits per la formazione, sia musicale, che estetica di questo gruppo.
     
    La qualità tecnica non manca sicuramente: le voci sono calde e ben gestite e sembrano volare dolcemente sulle basi piccanti e oscure che offrono gli strumenti (è l'idea che emerge da “Le Patètique”).
     
    “The Mirror ” è una buona canzone che ricorda moltissimo lo stile Iron Maiden. Alcuni pezzi sono suonati con un rock melodico che fa trapelare una singolare allegria (come il finale di “ Le Patètique ”, tra l'altro molto bello ed incalzante).
     
    Gli effetti sonori (molti derivanti dall'uso della tastiera) e vocali sono stati utilizzati con cura ed attenzione e non cadono assolutamente nel banale o nell'eccessivo.
     
    E' presente come una specie di intervallo una simpatica cover tratta dal film “La banda del gobbo ” (1977) di Umberto Lenzi Molto belle soprattutto “Pissed in Hell ” e “Dr. Bloodmoney ” (quest'ultima forse un po' troppo ripetitiva nel ritornello..) oltre che “Le Patètique ” .
     
    Il “viaggio” termina con un' outro maligna che incarna i tratti del loro “Elitarian Undead Rock”. Un ottimo album per gli appassionati del genere o per chi è alla ricerca non del solito e ridondante metal , ma di qualcosa di meno virtuoso ed epico. Complimenti per il risultato!
     
  •  Paura e maledizione di essere diversi da tutti gli altri, modificazioni di una volontà di stupire l'inconscio scellerato del pubblico, di quel pubblico estasiato davanti alle loro evidenze non del tutto normali, unicamente volonterosi, con quella grinta fatta di lusinghiera movimentazione che ricorda solo in parte il vecchio movimento dark nostrano, quel movimento che regalava odio e amore, perplessità e rabbia, suoni di valore esterrefatto, evanescenze di un possedimento culturale largamente inoltrato verso l' horror di personale determinazione sotto culturale, punk declassato che gioca le proprie carte sulla bellezza istintiva della semplicità poco semplificata, atta a destabilizzare un concetto di qualità prettamente inebriante e sporco di invidia, non capito perché forse non amato, ma pur sempre esistente.

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